Common Mistakes Managers Make and How to Avoid Them

Managing people is a complex task, as everyone has different learning styles and motivators. Unfortunately, many managers arrive at their position with little or no management training. This can lead to common mistakes that can have a negative impact on team morale and productivity. One of the most frequent errors is not listening to team members.

Managers can become so focused on their vision of a project that they don't take the time to hear out their team's concerns or suggestions. Listening attentively and with focus to team members provides important information that managers might otherwise overlook. Another common mistake is micromanagement. This kills trust and derails team motivation and creativity.

A good proportion of employees (18%) believe that leaders do not use their experience and knowledge to help them make key business decisions. When employees feel like they lack autonomy, they quickly disconnect and morale plummets. Managers should take the time needed to anticipate potential problems, resolve them before they start, and help team members develop their own crisis-solving skills. Delegation is another area where mistakes are often made; either a manager delegates too much or not enough.

Managers must set tasks, identify priorities, and be consistent in making employees meet a specific standard. They should also remain calm even when everything seems to be falling on them. Knowing what's going on in employees' lives can help managers to anticipate calls and other problems, and to make reasonable adjustments when necessary so that employees can perform to their full potential. A quick, daily “log in” meeting helps managers and team members share successes, discuss problems and establish relationships.

Understanding how individual goals are part of company goals will help to consolidate a team towards a common goal. Teams turn to managers for support and guidance, and managers' emotional responses determine the emotional state of the team. The perspective of employees is valuable, since they see and work with things that managers don't see on a daily basis. There's no shame in the fact that even the most open manager closes their door to plan or even work off-site during the afternoon to see where their company or even their team should focus, change and develop for the future.

Finally, some managers make the mistake of walking away from problems in the hope that the problems will resolve themselves. This is not an effective strategy for problem-solving.